Everyone has asked why in the world it is going to take us so long to be able to go back to Bulgaria for our "gotcha day" -- bringing Teddy home. Each country has its own set of regulations for their process of adoption. Some require one trip only; you go to meet the child and bring them home at the end of that trip. Sometimes, that one trip has to be really long (as in, up to 6 weeks or more) but other countries are as short as 10 days to 2 weeks. Some require 2 trips, but the length of time between trip one and two is not terribly long. Well, Bulgaria just has a lengthy process. When I first heard 3-4 months between trips, I just couldn't imagine what all could possibly take that long! Now, as I watch the time line of others adopting ahead of us from Bulgaria, 5 months is actually the average time span. UGH!! However, because the fact that the Bulgarian court system takes a really long summer court recess, the length of time for us will likely be longer yet. So, we're hoping and praying for 5 months, but trying to prepare ourselves for more like 6.
To shed a little light on what all will happen during these next months, here's a short summary:
1. The U.S.I.C.S. will approve our I-800 paperwork and send a copy of the approval to the U.S. embassy in Sofia. (our paperwork is in their office now, but it will likely be 2-3 more weeks before this is processed.)
2. Toni will go to the embassy in Sofia for an appointment with the consular there. This appt. usually takes a week or so to set up and actually take place. Then, they have 5 days in which they issue her more paperwork that is needed.
3. Since this paper will be in English, before it can be submitted with our other things, it has to be translated, and the translation certified. This takes a week or two.
4. All of our documents are submitted to the Bulgarian gov't authority which governs adoptions. Two people there have to sign off on all of it. This usually takes a week or 2.
5. Then, all of our documents are submitted to the court system. It takes usually 2 weeks to assign our case to a judge, and then a week or 2 for the judge to set a court date.....Which is usually 2 or more weeks away.
6. If the judge decides that more clarification on anything is needed, he/she can require more documentation that takes ?? a week or 2 to collect.
7. Court is held with Toni representing us there in Sofia, and Teodor becomes a Jacobsen!! There is a seven day mandatory waiting period for everything to become final; then we can start making plans (getting a date and buying tickets) for our second trip.
It's easy to see how the weeks all add up, and the waiting time just drags, but when it's all said and done, not one family I've seen said that it wasn't worth it in the end!! SO, we wait!!